Governor Carney Announces Department of Human Resources (DHR) Nomination

Additional personnel changes announced to focus on management of federal ARPA and infrastructure funding

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday announced that he will nominate Claire DeMatteis to serve as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Human Resources (DHR), where she would provide support for Delaware’s state workforce and manage recruitment and retention programs across the executive branch of state government.

DeMatteis currently serves as Special Assistant to the Governor, overseeing the management of federal stimulus dollars. Governor Carney’s nomination must be confirmed by the Delaware Senate.

“Claire has stepped up time and time again over the last five years,” said Governor Carney. “She helped manage major reforms at the Department of Correction, and later led the agency with distinction from 2019-2021. In her current role, she has helped make sure we are efficiently managing an influx of federal stimulus dollars to the State. Claire has a proven ability to take on difficult challenges and I look forward to the Senate confirming her nomination.”

In her current position as Special Assistant to Governor Carney, DeMatteis oversees management of federal stimulus funding received by the State of Delaware, and assists with crisis management projects across state government.

If confirmed by the Senate as DHR Secretary, DeMatteis would focus on modernizing the state workforce post-pandemic, including efforts to:

  • Recruit a new generation of workers into state government that reflects that state’s population;
  • Address compensation inequities across state government agencies;
  • And increase efforts to provide professional development and training for all state employees, including diversity and inclusion training, leadership development, and mentorship programs. 

Also on Thursday, Governor Carney announced senior personnel changes to manage additional federal funding. 

A.J. Schall, Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), who continues to lead the State’s logistical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will manage recovery efforts and implementation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investments, while remaining in his current DEMA role.

Greg Patterson, currently the Chief of Staff at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), will move to the Office of the Governor as Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator to manage funding received by the State of Delaware through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The bipartisan law was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on November 15. 

White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu urged governors this week to name implementation coordinators to oversee the new infrastructure spending. Delaware is expected to receive more than $2 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including significant new funding for road and bridge repairs, broadband expansion, clean water projects, and electric vehicle infrastructure. 

Patterson, who previously served in roles for Governor Ruth Ann Minner and Governor Jack Markell, as well as at the state Department of Justice and Department of Insurance, will also assist in reviewing and streamlining State regulations related to economic development, consistent with the ongoing Ready in 6 initiative to advance job creation efforts.

“I’ve known A.J. and Greg for years, and both are consummate public servants who I’m confident are ready for this challenge,” said Governor Carney. “For almost two years, A.J. has led the State’s logistical response to the COVID-19 pandemic, managing the statewide testing program and rollout of the vaccine. In the months ahead, A.J. and Greg will continue to manage recovery efforts and make sure we are getting stimulus dollars out the door and putting them to work for Delaware families. I want to thank both for their continued public service.”

DeMatteis previously served as Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) from 2019-2021, as Special Assistant to Governor Carney overseeing reforms to Delaware’s corrections system, and in a senior role at the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL). 

From 2008-2016, DeMatteis worked as General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer of two multi-billion dollar corporations. DeMatteis spent four years at Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, a Mid-Atlantic law firm with offices in Wilmington. She was partner in charge of the firm’s Delaware office from 2007-2008.

During her decade working as senior counsel for then-Senator Joe Biden, from 1994-2004, DeMatteis served as a member of a senior team on issues involving law enforcement, women’s rights, civil rights, and constitutional matters. She helped guide campaign strategy, managed constituent communications, and drafted legislation.

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Sen. Carper, Gov. Carney, Conservation Groups Hail Christina River Project and Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund

The Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington /DNREC photo

U.S. Senator Tom Carper and Delaware Governor John Carney joined conservation partners at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington today to celebrate the Christiana and Brandywine River restoration and resiliency project funded by the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund. They celebrated another important step in the ongoing work to improve Wilmington’s riverfront area with clean, healthy rivers and attractive places for people and wildlife.

“I am pleased to be here today with so many good partners to support the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund’s investments in the protection and preservation of this ecological treasure,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper, Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Projects like this are critical for our efforts to tackle climate change and help ensure that all Delawareans can enjoy these precious resources for generations to come.”

For the future of federal infrastructure investments, the U.S. Senate recently approved the bipartisan infrastructure package. The bill includes $26 million of supplemental funding for the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over five years. The funding supports on-the-ground restoration projects and new and existing jobs across the four-state watershed through the DRBRP. Projects will enhance fish and wildlife habitat, improve water quality to support wildlife and drinking water for people, enhance water management for flood damage mitigation, and improve recreational opportunities for public access. Amidst the growing threats of sea level rise, a creeping salt line, frequent flooding, habitat loss, and polluted stormwater runoff, this investment is desperately needed.

“Millions of people in our region depend on the Delaware River Basin for clean drinking water, and the river remains vitally important for outdoor recreation and economic development for communities in Delaware and beyond,” said Governor John Carney. “All Delawareans deserve clean water. That’s why we’ve made it a priority to upgrade our infrastructure to make sure all Delaware families have access to clean drinking water. We will continue to work with local and federal partners and states in our region that rely on the Delaware River Watershed to properly manage this valuable resource.”

“DNREC has been working for years through the Christina-Brandywine River Remediation, Restoration, Resilience project – or CBR4 – toward a time when the Christina River and Brandywine Creek are once again drinkable, swimmable and fishable,” said Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We believe it is an achievable goal and are building on decades of work to create a holistic, inspiring vision and plan to direct remediation, restoration and resilience actions for the next 10 to 20 years.”

“The Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund has been invaluable to Delaware, and the watershed as a whole by investing in projects that improve drinking water quality, provide public access to outdoor recreation, and restore and conserve natural habitats, ” said Jen Adkins, Director of Clean Water Supply at American Rivers and a member of the Christina Conservancy Board of Directors. “To date, the Fund has supported 21 projects benefiting the First State, totaling $4.3 million with natural and economic benefits. We’re excited for our project on the lower Christina and Brandywine Rivers here in Wilmington to be among them.”

American Rivers collaborated with the Christina Conservancy to receive a Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund award to work closely with DNREC and other local partners on a Christina and Brandywine Rivers Remediation, Restoration and Resilience plan. This plan will create a blueprint with specific restoration projects for completing the transformation of the lower Christina and Brandywine Rivers in Wilmington into healthy river ecosystems. Additional partners on the project include Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, Sarver Ecological, BrightFields, Inc, and Anchor QEA, who are providing scientific and technical expertise, as well as the Delaware Nature Society who is working with local groups like the South Wilmington Planning Network and Collaborate Northeast to seek input from local residents.

Green jobs and workforce development are a focus of Delaware Nature Society whose Trail Ambassadors offered Senator Carper and Governor Carney a tour of the Boardwalk Marsh. Programs such as the Trail Ambassadors not only connect youth closer to the environment but serve as a steppingstone to the proposed Civilian Climate Corps.

“President Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps will put thousands of young people from all backgrounds to work making our communities more resilient, protecting our clean water, addressing environmental injustices, and restoring wildlife habitat — through essential projects like those supported through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “A 21st century version of the Civilian Conservation Corps will accomplish these critical conservation goals, while equitably empowering the next generation of conservation leaders to strengthen communities across America by restoring treasured natural resources.”

Joanne McGeoch, Delaware Nature Society Interim Executive Director said: “We are grateful to the many partners involved in raising awareness and protection of the Delaware River Watershed. This vital resource provides clean water for millions of people in the region, supports green jobs and our local economy. Delaware Nature Society believes that investments in our youth are equally vital to ensuring our future. To that end, we’ve launched the Trail Ambassador program, engaging local youth from Wilmington in training the next generation of conservation leaders. Along with our partners at National Wildlife Federation, we support the Biden administration’s proposal for the Civilian Conservation Corps and look forward to working together to ensure that conservation jobs are part of the recovery efforts needed to protect our environment, tackle climate change, and boost our economy.”

The Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund was launched in 2018 to conserve and restore natural areas, corridors and waterways on public and private lands that support native fish, wildlife and plants, and to contribute to the vitality of the communities in the Delaware River Watershed. The fund is facilitated by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and funding is provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Delaware River Basin Restoration Program.

In total, 90 projects have been funded in the last three years that will improve 6,783 acres of forest habitat, treat polluted runoff using agricultural conservation practices on more than 4,596 acres, restore 141 acres of wetland habitat, and improve 3.5 miles of instream habitat in critical headwaters in the Delaware River Basin. View the full 2020 grant slate online at http://bit.ly/dwcf2020.

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STATEMENT: Governor Carney on Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework

WILMINGTON, Del. — Governor John Carney on Thursday issued the following statement on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework announced by President Biden on Thursday:

“This is a historic, bipartisan agreement on infrastructure that would create millions of good-paying new jobs and position American workers and businesses to compete in a 21st century economy. It’s the largest infrastructure plan in more than a century, and would represent the largest investment in transportation and public transit in American history. This framework would also make important investments to upgrade our clean water infrastructure, and deliver reliable high-speed internet service to every American family. That’s how we’ll drive economic growth over the long term – and prove we can still come together to get big things done.”

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